Think hot potato. Then think poetry.
That’s right, a really fun and probably terrible poem is about to burst into existence.
Here’s a writing exercise I did with my sister for funsies, and it was really really fun.
What you need:
- 2+ people
- 2 different colored pens
- 1 or 2 pieces of paper
- A timer (you can Google “timer” and get a really simple one)
- A dash of imagination and adventure
Here’s the rules:
- You put the timer on for 30 seconds at a time.
- Start the timer! You each start writing a poem on your page. Hopefully you have legible handwriting.
- For 30 seconds, you write and write and write. When the timer goes off, finish the word you’re on. (Or don’t! You can cut off in the middle of a word if you want!)
- Trade papers! Start the timer again!
- Go back and forth like this until you’re about half way down the page. Now might be a good time to change the timer from every 30 seconds to every 45 seconds (or longer).
- When you get to the bottom of the page, stop! Or if you think the poem has ended or needs more space, feel free to keep going or stop early.
- Your poems are done!
- You each get to add a title to one of the poems!
Here are some helpful hints:
- Leave an inch or two at the top of the page so you can add a title once it’s finished.
- Leave an inch or so margin on the left side of the page in case you want to go through and add doodles or art or something later!
- Use pens that have a different enough color so you can tell who wrote what.
- Don’t forget to sign and date it! Sign it in the color you wrote with.
- If you finish it and want to share it with us!
- Twitter: tag us (@McRebecky and @MelAnn1313) with the tag #campfirepoetry
- Instagram: @MelAnn1313
- If you just want to let us know if this was helpful or fun, leave a comment here and share your experience!
Here’s what one of ours looked like!
The final version, typed:
the aroma of damp, decaying leaves
and crisp fall air with nothing,
nothing on the skyline except
maybe that’s just it — Nothing.
Does it frighten you?
You, who has spent time frolicking in fields
of death — graveyard flowers, cracking headstones,
trash left by those who couldn’t forget
the emptiness of horizons, the loneliness of what
once was, now only a void.
This is you.
Or it was. At least. Once. It was. I promise.
Death. You are Death. Right? Or have you
abdicated that title in exchange for a
new one. Are you Angel? My angel?
I almost feel the decay of winter
chilled against my fingernails, my toes. Is this–
this– the sky you’ve left for me?
Bleak, gray, unyielding to my cries and prayers?
It is not empty. I am not empty. I am Death, too.
A lovely tangential video about coffee, machetes, kumquats, and how most of those things relate to writing and editing.
(Also, someday I will totally publish these things on the day I film them. Hopefully)
Have a question about any of this?
Sometimes I win NaNo, and sometimes I fail.
This year is a bit different.
I have a book deal for two books (THE NAMELESS QUEEN and a sequel), and I’m in the middle of doing edits with my editor.
I haven’t heard back yet on the first round of edits, and I’m already about 79k words through the sequel.
Things standing in my way of being productive this NaNo:
- Job. Job. Job. I work as a technical editor (day job), and we’ve gone from 3 writers on staff to 1. Not for any nefarious reason, just that one intern went back to school already and the other took a contract position elsewhere. There will be a NEW full-time writer come January-ish, but then there’s a long process of training and such. Meanwhile, we’re currently doing 3 major projects and I’m the lonely writer. Sooo basically my life is going to be busy at work. Might be working long hours.
- Fragmented transcription. Some parts of my story, I dictated and then transcribed. Contrary to how I normally handle this, I didn’t necessarily smooth over all the scenes that I typed up, so there’s an occasional hard bracket section which denotes a gap in the story. Nothing is more fun than seeing this as you scroll through the document:
-  Something something clever line. [smooth over transition btwn these scenes. sorry about the fuss, Future Me.]
- Edits. If I hear back from my editor during this month (which is likely, because I sent the edits to her at the beginning of September), then that will take priority. Not much to do about this one except to treat edits with as much reverence and rush as they deserve. ❤
Things that will not stand in my way of being productive this NaNo:
- Fragmented transcription.
Because even though these things take up my time and are important, they are just a part of a given day.
- Yes, my job is important, but as long as I leave work at work, I have a whole evening to myself. Back when I did the first draft of THE NAMELESS QUEEN, I was working 50-hour weeks. I basically had one or two hours of writing time per day. And let me tell you, when you only have 2 hours, you are a hell of a lot more productive than you’d be when you’re staring at a blank screen all day.
- Yes, fragmented scenes are tough to work around. I’m at a point of writing where I’m not sure which characters are present. Is it just 3? 4? Or is it as high as 8? *shrug* I’ll pick my favorites, and if a time comes where I realize I need some of the others, they will appear as if by magic. I’ll let Revision Rebecca deal with that issue, aka Future Me Who Has To Edit The First Draft.
- Yes, edits are the top priority. If they come in, I will drop the sequel like a hot potato so I can dive into the fire of revisions. But you know what? Edits on book 1 are just as important as writing book 2. So if I end up spending NaNo doing edits, that’s fine by me. Productivity isn’t prescriptive. You don’t have to accomplish exactly what you set out to do. You just have to accomplish something. So even if I “fail” NaNo like I did last year (I’m looking at you, Pitch Wars and Getting an Agent/Book Deal), that doesn’t mean I have failed.
Then again, the biggest test will be today, the first day. Typically Day One of NaNo is one of the most productive, so if I set a good tone with today, I’ll get a good sense of if I’m in a good spot to keep moving forward.
And hey! If anyone else out there is doing NaNo this year, let me know!! We can be buddies!
Have a question on any of this?
*yes it can be anonymous!
This is the construction of a journey to a metaphor of an armoire. AKA: I built a jewelry armoire (aka I put on the legs & top).
Also, no jewelry is featured in this video.
There are, however, sharp objects.
A typical Saturday morning of an author. Any writer knows the struggle of the pen cup.
You know how it goes. One pen, two pens, 90-thousand pens—half of which don’t work. All of it resulting in a tetris-jenga mess.
THE NAMELESS QUEEN, my debut novel, is out in Spring 2018!! AHHH! (Mark it as to-read on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28173303-the-nameless-queen)
Find me on the Social Medias:
It’s easy to overlook a bad story, but it’s difficult to overlook great writing.
From The Value of Line Edits (and when to do them), August 19, 2016